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Supreme Court granted relief to Retd Major from Indian Army

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Supreme Court on Friday allowed the appeal filed by Retd Major, Indian Army challenging the order of Army Forces Tribunal which dismissed his plea which sought for revision of payment of pension applicable to the Rank of Lt. Col (TS) pursuant to the implementation of 5th Central Pay Commission.

Acting upon a plea Supreme Court bench of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Hemant Gupta said, “apart from entitlement to the pension applicable to the post of Lt. Colonel (TS), he is also entitled to be compensated for the avoidable litigation to which he was unnecessarily dragged into and directed Centre to pay him 50,000/- within four weeks.”

Background of the Case

In this case the Appellant was granted Short Service Commission on 15.06.1969 and Permanent Commission on 15.06.1974. His promotion/seniority was fixed w.e.f. 12.08.1970. He voluntarily proceeded for his pre-mature retirement w.e.f. 15.07.1991 in the rank of Major. He was granted pension by an order dated 29.07.1991, as Major. By an order dated 25.09.1991, the Appellant was granted substantive rank of Lt. Colonel. The Appellant sought for revision of pension as he was entitled for payment of pension applicable to the rank of Lt. Colonel (TS) pursuant to the implementation of the 5th Central Pay Commission. As the request made by the Appellant was rejected, he approached the Armed Forces Tribunal, Regional Bench, Kochi, which directed the reconsideration of the representation made by the Appellant. By way of implementation of the direction issued by the Armed Forces Tribunal, the Respondent reconsidered the matter pertaining to the payment of pension applicable to the rank of Lt. Colonel (TS) to the Appellant. By observing that the Appellant did not complete 21 years of reckonable service which was required for grant of pension to the Lt. Colonel, as per the Army Order dated 20.03.1990, the Respondents held that the Appellant was not entitled for payment of pension applicable to the Lt. Colonel (TS). The Military Secretary Branch, M3-8A Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence (Army) South Block, New Delhi was of the opinion that the Appellant fell short of the requisite 21 years by a period of 30 days. Challenging the proceedings dated 30.04.2015, the Appellant filed O.A. No.110 of 2015 before the Armed Forces Tribunal. The Armed Forces Tribunal dismissed the O.A., dissatisfied with which, the Appellant has filed the above Appeal.

After retirement of the Appellant, an order for payment of pension was issued on 29.07.1991. He was granted pension in the rank of Major. The Appellant has placed before us an order dated 15.10.1991 by which the competent authority approved the promotion of officers of 1970 to the substantive rank of Lt. Colonel by time scale. The officers whose names were found in the list annexed to the said order were directed to wear the badges of the rank of Lt. Colonel (TS). The name of the Appellant is shown at Serial No.11 of the list that was annexed to the order dated 15.10.1991. Having been promoted to the rank of Lt. Colonel, the Appellant is entitled to payment of pension in the rank of Lt. Colonel (TS).

In response to our query about the order dated 15.10.1991, the learned Additional Solicitor General, on instructions submitted that it was issued due to a mistake. She fairly submitted that the said order has not been withdrawn.

The reliance placed on the Army orders to consider the reckonable service for the purpose of promotion/seniority as Major is of no avail to the Respondents in view of the order dated 15.10.1991.

“The Appellant cannot be denied payment of pension applicable to the rank of Lt. Colonel (TS) on the ground that he fell short of the reckonable service of 21 years”, said Supreme Court.

-India Legal Bureau 

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